In 1773, in Boston Harbor, patriots dumped tea into the water in protest over the English tax that had been imposed upon them. This iconic American event put into perspective a principle that would later be reflected in our Constitution no taxation without representation. When the U.S. Constitution was adopted, it left the power to make laws solely in the legislative branch and kept that power distant from the executive branch. In that way, no tax or law would be imposed upon the public except through their elected representatives.
The same principle is reflected in South Carolinas Constitution.
Now, let us fast forward to the 21st century. As the legislative process evolved over time, laws were passed to authorize state and federal agencies to promulgate regulations to implement the mandates of certain other laws. In South Carolina, these regulations go into effect after 120 days; in the federal system, they generally go into effect 60 days after submission to Congress. In both cases, all regulations can go into effect automatically, without the affirmative vote of your elected representatives. These regulations promulgated by bureaucrats have the full force and effect of law and can also impose fees on the public.
Fees is a modern term for tax.
Let me give you an example of the most recent incident with regulations. When the new session of the General Assembly started, DHEC filed regulations for home caregivers. These are people who provide basic services to people with disabilities or challenges such as assistance in dressing, going to the bathroom, cleaning the house, or being mobile in their own house. A statute was passed to require background checks of home care providers and to require Workers Compensation Insurance coverage in the event of an injury. It authorized DHEC to promulgate regulations to implement these requirements of the statute. DHEC, instead, proposed regulations that went far beyond what the statute intended. It involved such things as requiring the workers to record how much bathroom assistance they give a client as well as record other data identified in the regulation as allergies, pets, etc. All of this would take effect with the full force of law and would include an initial $1,000 license fee the first year plus an $800 renewal fee each year, plus fines if you do not comply with the regulations as determined by DHEC.
In a nutshell, this is not only taxation without representation but government without representation.
This latest submission of regulations by DHEC energizes me to speak out to the people of South Carolina. They should demand that their representatives on the federal and state levels insist that any regulations taking the peoples money and posing undue burdens on them and our society not take effect unless the elected representatives of the people approve it. It is incompatible to limited and responsive government for agencies to impose their will, increase their budgets, and fee the public by the promulgation of regulations that never require an affirmative vote of the elected representatives of the public.
Glenn McConnell is S.C. Lt. Governor.